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Straight tracks closer together than eight stud gap?

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The next project brewing in my head will be a place for my tube trains to call, two through tracks and side platforms. I would really like to be able to use 32 stud baseplates for this (four of them end to end). The question is, can I narrow the gap between long lengths of straight track, e.g four stud gap rather than eight, and easily bring them back to geometry at the ends, not necessarily using standard Lego curves/straights, and avoiding flexible track if possible?

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In the 12V era the tracks before/after points were situated directly next to each other. Of course you need to think about how wide your trains are as well, but it is doable.

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Posted (edited)

Well, two standard curve tracks shift the track by 6 studs, but are about 1 1/4 studs shorter than straights, so unless you can accommodate for that in the entire setup, it doesn't help; 8 pieces of flex track stretch to the proper length with a 4 studs shift without noticeable stress (I'm using this in my setup), but have all the disadvantages of flex tracks. I'm not aware of third-party solutions for this, but would also be interested...

If the two tracks come around a corner on both ends of the station - not very realistic in real life, but maybe necessary in a small Lego setup -, you can of course use a single flex track piece or third-party quarter straight before the curve.

Edited by cimddwc

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If you just need to connect your track: Trixbrix has special switches that create 4-stud gaps between the tracks. Of course then you could not connect two 8-stud-parallel tracks w/o another standard switch.

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If you are ok with not having switches connecting the two loops then yes, it’s very possible, but that does limit your options. I have a feeling it may be possible with half length straights etc, will have a play on Bluebrick later and see what I can come up with. 

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As others have said, Trixbrix probably has a solution for that. This post mentions the gratuitous use of short track segments to do funky station geometry that returns to the standard 8 stud offset.

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Posted (edited)

I tried to use the technique for wide radius curves by connecting straights at an angle to archieve a similar result (although the result is approximately 3 studs distance).

Tried it only digitally though and am not sure how much play there is with the real tracks:

short_distance.jpg

Hope this helps!

Cheers,
Nick

Edited by ScotNick

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Here you go. The gap on the left is closed on the right using a half length straight. I know they're out there, probably in both metal and plastic, I'm not sure off the top of my head where though. I'm sure others can advise. 

51108167926_b6a5c5cf0b_o.png9v Parallel Tracks 

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Thanks for all the replies, really good suggestions here (apologies for not thanking individually, but all were genuinely appreciated).

Looks like it will be safe for me to go ahead as planned but this will be a big project for next winter. Spring has finally arrived on the Essex Sunshine Coast and the great outdoors beckons.

Art_Nouveau_Coast_600.jpg

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On 4/10/2021 at 7:41 PM, Andy Glascott said:

Here you go. The gap on the left is closed on the right using a half length straight. I know they're out there, probably in both metal and plastic, I'm not sure off the top of my head where though. I'm sure others can advise. 

51108167926_b6a5c5cf0b_o.png9v Parallel Tracks 

You can get half-straights from BrickTracks or HA Bricks for those in Europe. Or 2 flex track.

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If you're running battery powered trains, you could also build the custom length track sections you need out of panel pieces or other clever sideways part usage. An example that comes to mind can be found here: 

 

There's also this youtube thumbnail, no idea if the video was any good but it gets the idea I had across pretty well: LEGO Train Track X-Cross *Simple and Easy* - YouTube

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Possibly not helpful but I too have a strong preference for 4-stud spacings.

I'm using TrixBrix R56 curves and quarter-straights (or flex-track segments) to either maintain the 4-stud gap around corners, or return to 8-stud spacing if needed.

Note that particularly in the case of the constant 4-stud spacing (top left in the image) you'll want to check your overhangs when you have two bogied cars passing on the corner ...

At the cost of more space you could use R72 and R56 curves (etc etc) - the trick being starting the outer curve "early" using quarter-length straight tracks.

 

4_stud_separation.png

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11 hours ago, jmchisel said:

I'm using TrixBrix R56 curves and quarter-straights (or flex-track segments) to either maintain the 4-stud gap around corners, or return to 8-stud spacing if needed.

Clever, especially since you can still do crossovers on the sides where you have the 8 stud spacing. You can achieve the same effect by using only S16 on the outside and a single S4 on each side of the inside curve. This technique also works with R40 curves on both tracks but it does not look as nice.

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